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Class lecture labeling preborn child as ‘parasite’ causes social media outrage

fetus, preborn, parasite

A UC San Diego class lecture has come under fire for labeling a preborn human being as a “parasite” that “invades” — just like a cancer. Some Twitter users have pointed out that the lecture slides, related to immunology, are merely pointing out how cancer can mimic a process like pregnancy to invade a human being’s body — but others believe the comparison to a “parasite” is a good example of completely unscientific pro-abortion propaganda.

The lecture slide reads, “The fetus, a legitimate parasite… rapidly grows… invades… manipulates immunity of mother… reshapes blood vessels,” and goes on to list the similarity to a cancer: “The cancer: crashes the party!!!… rapidly grows… invades… manipulates immunity… reshapes blood vessels.”

Griswold commented in follow-up tweets, “The class title is ‘biology of disease’ and as all ‘woke’ medical students know, pregnancy is a disease. Abortion is the remedy,” and “The presentation was given by a professor in the school of medicine … not a student.”

Several Twitter users pointed out that the slide has nothing to do with abortion (see one response below). But the truth is, even though it doesn’t directly address abortion, it likens a growing human being in his mother’s womb — the exact place designed for him to grow — as an “invading parasite.”

A parasite is, by definition, of a different species than its host organism. Ideologues don’t get to redefine scientific terms to push their agenda. At Catholic Answers, Fr. Charles Grondin lays out a very logical (and entirely non-religious) list of reasons why a human being in the mother’s womb is not a parasite. He writes:

A baby in the womb is not a parasite because:

  • The baby is of the same species as the host (the mother). It is to the advantage of the human species that this relationship exist. Therefore, the relationship is not a detriment.
  • Human mothers have a placenta that shares nutrients with the baby. This is natural and normal and shows that the relationship between a mother and baby is symbiotic rather than parasitic.  
  • The placenta is produced by the mother’s body for the purpose of nurturing a baby. The human body does not produce anything to purposely feed parasites. [Editor’s correction: The placenta is actually not produced by the mother’s body, but from the rapidly developing human being’s cells, part of which become the embryo and part which become the placenta.]
  • It is a rare condition in which a mother’s immune system attacks the baby as if it were a parasite. If the baby were a parasite, this condition would be the norm rather than the exception.
  • A host-parasite relationship is to the benefit of one and the detriment of the other, but the body of the mother cooperates with the body of the baby during pregnancy.
  • Parasites come from the outside the host; a baby comes from inside the mother.

As Live Action president and founder Lila Rose pointed out on social media, this sort of classifying a developing human being in his mother’s womb as a parasite is dehumanization — and dehumanization always leads to the oppression and death of human beings:

Editor’s Note, 5/4/19: Correction made regarding placental formation.

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